The World Series was quite interesting this year. We saw seven games between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals. And we didn’t see a single team win a home game. In a series that felt like the starting pitching was going to dominate given who all was pitching, we didn’t see nearly as much of that as expected. The non-die-hard baseball fan was introduced to superstar Juan Soto. I hope we get to see seven games next year in the World Series, too.

But now that it’s all over that means that it’s time for the Cincinnati Reds to get to work. Free agency begins in less than a week. They also have a few days before having to make a decision on picking up their $5.5M team option on Freddy Galvis, or to pay him his buyout and allow him to become a free agent.

It also means that the trade market will open back up. While teams could have been having discussions during the playoffs and World Series – they likely weren’t doing much talking. Teams usually go to the GM meetings, which will be November 11th through 14th this year, and begin talking. The winter meetings then take place about a month later – this year from December 9th through 12th in San Diego – and that’s usually when we start to see some real action take place.

There are two important dates between those meetings, though. The first one is November 20th. That is when teams have to make their final decision on who to protect from the Rule 5 draft and add them to the 40-man roster. Or they could not add a player and leave them exposed to the draft. The draft will take place on December 12th and is the last formal event of the Winter Meetings.

The other important date between the GM and Winter Meetings is December 2nd. That is the non-tender date. Players who are under team control but haven’t yet reached free agency must be tendered a contract by this date for the following season, locking them in for the upcoming season and their arbitration number, or non-tendered a contract in which case they will become a free agent.

Over at Redleg Nation I’ve been working through the various positions and looking at potential free agent options for the Reds to try and upgrade for 2020. We haven’t touched on the pitchers – starters or relievers – yet, but the position players are all covered at this point in the week.

Before Howie Kendrick went off in the playoffs he was a guy that felt like an under-the-radar very good get. Now that he’s gone out and crushed the ball in front of everyone that under-the-radar side probably isn’t there anymore. Still, he makes a lot of sense for the Reds at the right price. Mike Moustakas can hit. The question is about whether he can fit onto the field with the Reds for as long as it may take to sign him. I’m also intrigued by the idea of looking at Scooter Gennett. I don’t think it makes sense to give him a bigger deal. But I do think a small guarantee with good incentives could make a ton of sense. There’s upside there given what he did in 2017 and 2018.

In the outfield there aren’t really many options to look at in center field. Which really leaves you looking for a corner guy who would be a clear upgrade over either Aristides Aquino or a platoon of Jesse Winker and Phillip Ervin. Your mileage may vary on this one quite a bit.

When it comes to the position players, this market is a bit soft. The trade market looks much better, at least when it comes down to finding difference makers outside of the catching position where Yasmani Grandal could be there. Anthony Rendon will be out there. But unless Bob Castellini invented a new fruit, that just doesn’t seem likely. And last I checked, no new fruits have hit the market.

While the Major League Baseball season is over, the fun isn’t. With the Reds looking at expanding payroll, combined with money coming off of the books – there’s a lot of possibilities for Cincinnati to go to when trying to improve the roster. The stated goal is to make the playoffs in 2020. They aren’t likely getting there by standing pat. They’re going to need to make moves, and probably two bold moves, in order to get there. Time for the front office to get to work. They clock in today.

43 Responses

  1. AWA85

    Should be an exciting winter for the Reds. Will be interesting to see who is kept around and if there are any outside the box ideas (Dodgers trade last year) that pop up this off season.

  2. pw

    Scooter might contribute offensively, but doesn’t his Spring Training injury make him even more of a defensive liability limiting his range? I seem to remember that was a concern at the time.

    • Doug Gray

      If he’s healthy, no, that injury should not do much of anything to his defense.

    • MK

      I would rather have Galvis even if Scooter would sign for the same money. The Galvis decision is a no brainer, would even see if he would extend another year for same money.

      • Doug Gray

        I’d be absolutely beyond shocked if anyone paid Scooter Gennett the guaranteed money that Galvis will get if his option is picked up.

      • Oldtimer

        Galvis’ option was picked up by Reds (per Lance McAlister).

  3. SultanofSwaff

    Position doesn’t matter, but adding a 3-4WAR type player to the lineup is going to be my litmus test for the front office this offseason.
    Greene/TStephenson/Garcia/Lodolo are my only near-untouchables.

    My preference would be to take on a bad contract to facilitate a deal in order to hold onto prospects.

  4. Schottzie

    Perhaps the most interesting lesson this World Series can teach the Reds fans is the value in subtracting your superstar. While it’s not fair to say Bryce Harper held the Nats back, he did clearly prevent them from finding a winning, championship identity. Perhaps the Reds can say the same thing for Votto. Obviously he’s not the sole piece holding the Reds back from a championship, but it doesn’t seem like he plays the game to win as much as he plays it to challenge himself; he plays the game like it’s work not like it’s fun. And this Reds team does not appear to play the game like they have fun.

    tldr; the reds can make a bunch of moves this winter so they can end up losing a wild card game, or they could consider doing whatever they have to do to re-build the team at its core in order find and develop a new, winning identity.

    • Tom

      Votto = Zimmerman in many respects. I really don’t agree with your take on Votto. He can challenge himself and want to win badly at the same time.

      I think if the Reds had a top 5 offense like WAS instead of a bottom 5 offense, that would make a championship within reach.

      • Schottzie

        Votto makes 60% more than Zimmerman on a payroll about half the size; his impact and presence is much stronger than on a team with Sherzer, Stras, Soto, Rendon, Doolittle, etc. The Reds can either go buy five superstars to alter their identity, such as the Nats, or rebuild a newer one by allowing the old guard to move on.

        In fairness to Votto, the Reds are always out of it, so naturally, he’s going to focus on his personal game or what else does he have to play for? Again this isn’t as much a knock on Votto as he’s had some very special fan moments which I’ve been a fan of, as much as it’s an endorsement for a change of scenery for both he and the Reds. The Reds have zero identity, and you have to think the fact that their proverbial face of the franchise having a mercurial one is related to that.

        Great managers, executives, and business leaders need a change of scenery after their time has run its course. Ballplayers are businessmen. Why wouldn’t they be subject to the same scrutiny or line of thinking?

      • Tom

        Zimmerman did make 18 mil this year but I was surprised at his AAV, I thought his total deal was closer to 200. But I wasn’t responding to a budget comment, I was responding to your idea that he doesn’t have a winning identity and that is holding the team back.

        Votto’s always been a company man. Strong commitment to the Reds. The chips were down this year and he faltered unfortunately. But the motivation and juice was there, so I doubt a change of scenery is necessary.

    • Wes

      Nats got hot and overcame every obstacle to win a title in the most unprecedented fashion possible. To credit that to Harper not being there is a bit of a stretch.

      Also reds are for sure all in. They aren’t going to reverse course at this point like it or not they will continue to trade their minors for mlb ready players. So might as well get on board so u can enjoy it

      • Curt

        I don’t know if it’s so much of a stretch. One strong personality coming or going can most certainly alter the dynamic of a dugout, clubhouse, boardroom, rock band…..Harper’s a superstar who rejected the Nationals in favor of a division rival no less and made a huge spectacle in doing so. To think that this may have effected the team and provided them with an additional incentive/motivation makes perfect sense, at the very least forced them to come together with a new identity and leadership. Was Harper leaving the reason they won? Of course not. But it was definitely one of multiple changes that led to the team finding the identity, chemistry and confidence that carried them through. IMHO at least.

    • MK

      I thought they looked like they had more fun this past year than many previous years. I think guys like Puig, J. Iglesias and Dietrich helped with that and probably none of the three will be there next year. The give and take between Jesse Winker and the Mets fans also helped set a tone. Saurez and his blond hair have seemed to lighten the mood as well.

      • Tom

        I agree, they were pushing the fun as much as possible even early on when the winning was not there. You don’t hear anything but good things about the clubhouse culture.

    • Travis Jankowski's #1 Fan

      I’d be much more behind this deal if we had a Juan Soto type player to fill in his shoes… And if he didn’t have a no-trade clause where we’d still have to pay him to replace him with a probably worse player… and doing Votto dirty like that would not be a great image for the Reds.

  5. Tom

    Realistically, the Reds need Gray, Castillo, Desclafani and Bauer to produce at or better than they did in 2019. Then they need at least 3 position players not named Suarez to turn in a 3-4 WAR type season.

    A RF platoon of Winker and Aquino might work.
    Sign Didi, hope he has a 3 win season or 3 in him still.
    Trade for a good veteran. (Marte?)

    If you get Didi and Marte, I don’t think you need Grandal.

    I’d make Senzel available in high profile deals.

    • Oldtimer

      Bauer especially. He must pitch like 2018 not 2019.

      I don’t know their WAR but those four are a good SP rotation. Add one more.

      Galvis will be SS. Reds picked up his $5.5 M option today.

      Joey Votto is 36. I would put him in the Frank Robinson, Vada Pinson, Pete Rose, Joe Morganm Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, George Foster, Barry Larkin, Eric Davis categories (best Reds of my lifetime).

      Of those, really only Pete Rose had a season at age 36 that was as good or better than his career average season. From 35 to 40 he was very good in that respect.

      Votto MUST have a better season than 2019. A LOT better. 20+ HR, pushing 100 RBI.

  6. Jerry

    Reds should go after Starling Marte and Nick Castellanos. It be nice if they can get either or. Reds also need another solid arm in the bullpen to really make them contenders.

  7. Wes

    Reds will keep trading to improve this team. Top two candidates should be marte and Cory seager In 3 way for Lindor. That would increase payroll about 20 mil leaving roughly another 20 to spend. Persuade puig and wood to come back with that 20.

    Mahle/wood compete for 5th spot.


    A solid top of the lineup will help the rest of line up improve.

    Galvis Ervin aquino blandino off bench

    Iglesias lorenzen Garrett and potentially lodolo to represent back of pen.

  8. MK

    Talking heads on MLB Network speculate that the Astros need to add pitching and could make Carlos Correa available to move Bergman to short then sign Hpuston native Rendon to play third. Would you consider making Texas Christians Lodolo part of a trade for him.

    • Tom

      Lodolo seems like a lock for the 2021 rotation when he’ll be needed. Such a good fit for the Reds makes it hard to want to move that guy. Probably anyone else, though.

      • MK

        They gave away so many prospects for Grienke they are going to want a lot to replenish the stock.

    • DaveCT

      Yes, definitely. Correa for Lodolo plus filler? I do it yesterday.

    • Tom

      That Astros lineup was crazy. Anyone from that line up would improve the Reds. I hope to hear trade rumors between them and the Reds.

  9. SteveLV

    The Reds have the starting pitching to be a playoff contender, but they need 4 position players who wouldn’t be a surprise if they made the all star team – basically top 10 in mlb at their position. They have 1 – Suarez. I don’t see how they sign more than 2 free agents that fit that description, but they need to get those 2. I’m not sure how much it matters which position they play. Then I hope they count on Senzel to be the 4th rather than trade away more prospects. I’m still not a fan of trading (much of) the future for 2020. Developing some high performing major leaguers is a key to consistent success for all but the highest spending clubs. They seem to recognize that with the staff moves they are making.

    I’m intrigued by Scooter because he WAS an all star very recently. He lost a year, primarily to injury, be he had it in him and he still might.

    • Oldtimer

      Castillo and Gray, yes. Disco, maybe. Bauer 2019, no. Bauer 2018, YES!

      3B Suarez will be a perennial All-Star (I think). Whoever traded Alfredo Simon for him was one helluva good GM.

      I don’t see any other “slam dunk” All-Stars on 2020 Reds. But a couple have potential.

      I’d be happy with two FA signed who are everyday “good” regulars in the lineup, much less All-Stars.

      I think low 80s in W can be achieved. 2021 should be 90 W and NL Central contention.

  10. Norwood Nate

    Reds acquire Travis Jankowski and his career 76 OPS+.
    Mission Accomplished!

      • Norwood Nate

        Not sure either. Maybe AAA depth for CF if he still has options (I don’t know if he does)

      • Bill

        Plus CF defense and he hits RHP well. Perhaps he’s the 26th man on the roster as a late-inning defensive replacement, pinch runner, occasional pinch hitter. No options remaining.

      • Oldtimer

        … Not only do the Reds like Jankowski’s speed, makeup and ability to bat leadoff, Jankowski also offers roster flexibility since he has a Minor League option remaining …

      • Bill

        Even better if he has an option … Roster Resource, now hosted on Fangraphs, must be incorrect.

  11. Jim Delaney

    Reds current lineup is..
    C- TBD
    1B- TBD- can’t run Votto out there again.. 1B is a power.position. Eat the contract, thank him and send him on his way
    2B- Senzel? Or.TBD I interested in looking at Wilmer Flores or Howie Kendrick. Reds desperately need professional hitters..
    SS- Galvis? Hopefully not!!!
    3B- Suarez
    LF- Winker and Ervin platoon? Hopefully upgrade the LH side. COREY Dickerson is a free agent and far better defensively than Winker but very injury prone like Winker
    CF- Jankowski, SIRI? Hopefully NOT
    RF- Aquino- needs to be given full shot to show if his power is legit!
    A lot of work to do!!!

    • Tom

      I agree with the “lot of work to do” part. Some tough evaluations need to be made.

    • Oldtimer

      C Barnhart/Casili. 1B Votto. 2B VanMeter/Peraza platoon. SS Galvis. 3B Suarez. LF Winker. CF Senzel (or Ervin if slow recovery). RF Aquino. Lineup as of now.

      That is an 80 W lineup if all are healthy and SP stays good but RP improves.

  12. Martino

    Folks need to get over the idea of trading Votto. His salary is just too high and he’s not about to give his services away for good or bad. Just enjoy the day he retires as a Reds player and get over it.

  13. sixpack2

    I think the most bang for the buck would be to move Galvis to SS and get one of the two free agent power hitters for second. Then get Grandel for catch keeping Barnhart.

    I really wish there was a CF out there, because I think Senzel could be a fixture at 2nd.